Partner of the Week: Nadácia otvorenej spoločnosti Bratislava / Open Society Foundation

Nadácia otvorenej spoločnosti Bratislava / Open Society Foundation (NOS-OSF) was established in 1992 in Slovakia.

The vision of NOS-OSF is the belief in liberal democracy, personal freedom and the dignity of every individual. Their mission is to create opportunities to improve civil society towards greater openness, transparency, and the promotion of equality of opportunity and the protection of minorities and the weak. Through the implementation of projects and grant programmes to NGOs sharing the same values, they help the development of an open society, education, human rights and equal opportunities for disadvantaged citizens, considering especially the specific needs of Roma people.

NOS-OSF is a well-established, independent organisation. They regularly comment on legislative processes, are active in the development of various policies and serve on many advisory committees and commissions. The organisation strives to create an open society with quality education, high level of understanding human rights, enjoyment of human rights by all people, and equal opportunities for all marginalised, disadvantaged and vulnerable people.

In order to achieve their goals, NOS-OSF is one of the three organisations forming the consortium Active Citizens Fund Slovakia (ACF is part of the financial assistance of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway to 15 member states of the EU). In Slovakia, ACF supports CSOs in engaging citizens in decision-making and public policymaking, in efforts to create better conditions for good governance, in protecting human rights and providing civic education, and in improving the position of vulnerable groups in society. Particular attention is paid to young people and their participation in public affairs. In addition, under the Stronger Roots programme, together with Open Society Foundation in Prague, the Czech think-tank Glopolis, the Hungarian NIOK Foundation, NOS-OSF provides CSOs with the opportunities to strengthen their social position and improve their internal processes in the areas of marketing, fundraising, strategic planning, etc. Since 2017, they have also been collaborating with Škola dokorán n.o. on the activities of the Romani Early Years Network (REYN) Slovakia. REYN is a network of professionals and para-professionals providing services for Roma children aged 0 to 10.

Our Partnership

NOS-OSF decided to partner with Aflatoun as previously, Slovakia lacked a quality methodology that would address the development of children’s social and financial literacy from pre-school age, while at the same time promoting cooperation with parents.

What they appreciate above all about the Aflatoun methodology, especially the Aflatot, is the change that children can achieve through its application – their perception of their own rights, their capacity for delayed gratification and their ability to calm down are very high already after one school year of Aflatot activities. These skills are especially important for children from marginalised Roma communities, with whom they work extensively. Nowadays, the Aflatot methodology is already recommended for kindergartens by the Ministry of Education of Slovakia.

NOS-OSF is particularly proud that once they have gained the trust of the parents, they are beginning to engage them in activities, develop their skills, deepen their understanding of their as well as their relationships with their children, with kindergartens or primary schools. Many of the parents of the children they work with have little to no knowledge in the area of financial literacy. Many parents also appreciate that they are gaining social literacy skills (as many mothers had children at a very young age, their knowledge and skills in this area are limited).

The organisation believes that with thoughtful, targeted, and long-term implementation, it can improve the financial health of the communities they work with; they also believe that Social and Financial Education can contribute to better prepare children for compulsory schooling through the quality development of their social skills; and it will lay the foundations for financial literacy that children can build on in their further studies or in their lives.

Cash Boxes for Coins to Learn the Value of Money

NOS-OSF has been working in the Roma community since 2015. In local shops, it used to be common to find lots of coins (1 cent, 2 cents). Children used to spend money in such a way that when they were left with these small coins, with which they couldn’t buy anything, they would just throw it on the ground, not considering it useless.

Nowadays, you rarely find coins on the ground or around the shop because children don’t throw anything away and when children find some coins, they pick them up and keep them – or bring them to the kindergarten where they put them in the cash boxes. Now, children understand the value of money, they know that even if coins are worth a small amount of money, if they save them correctly, they can use them all together to buy something.

“Aflatoun is something new and exceptional for our kindergarten. Thanks to this program, children (as well as their parents) gain a better idea of life and improve their financial skills, which is very important for their daily lives.”